PBA targets new concept for next event

Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) – December 17, 2020 – 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — If conditions permit, the PBA may hold its next tournament in April 2021 in a setup less stringent than the bubble concept.

Commissioner Willie Marcial said the pro league is studying the feasibility of the closed-circuit concept, which requires a home-venue-home routine, for the Season 46 hostilities.

“We’re looking at that setup,” Marcial said of the closed-circuit arrangement, which the PBA actually used for the teams’ initial practices prior to going into a full bubble in Clark.

“We’ll see what the situation will be, if there’s already a vaccine by that time. If there’s no vaccine yet, we’re looking at the closed-circuit as an option,” he added.

The PBA successfully staged the 2020 Philippine Cup in an isolated, protected environment in Clark and the AUF Sports Arena in nearby Angeles over a two-and-a-half month period.

The bubble was a costly proposition, pegged at P65 million, and entailed a lot of sacrifices for the participating teams and league personnel.

Marcial noted the mental anguish participants had to endure throughout the activity that’s never been done before.

“Mental health is a primary concern. I saw how the participants had a hard time adjusting to life in the bubble and being away from their families for months,” he noted.

With closed circuit, Marcial said the participants “will see their families after the games and practices.”

The league commissioner is expecting to present the closed-circuit option to the board of governors when it convenes next month. The bubble concept will also be considered.

Whatever setup the PBA decides on, regular testing will remain an integral part of the protocol. Ditto sanitation and disinfection of venues.

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